Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wildflowers of 2014 - #22 False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum) and #23 White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)

On Tuesday May 6th, I found two more wildflowers to add to my 2014 list.

Wildflowers of 2014 - #22 False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum)

False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum) is another perennial, ephemeral, woodland wildflower.  It blooms between April and May and completes it yearly cycle of growth before the overhead canopy fills in.  After it completes it annual cycle, the above-ground parts of the plant will die back and the plant will remain dormant until the following Spring.  This plant often form large colonies and can act as low to moderately tall (4 to 16 inches) ground cover in both wet and dry forests throughout the eastern United States.

False Rue Anemone (and other plants) forming a dense ground-cover in a local floodplain forest
False Rue Anemone plants have leaves that are divided into three leaflets.  Each oval-shaped leaflet is deeply notched into three lobes.  The flowers of False Rue Anemone are white - what appears to be five white petals are actually sepals.  The center of the flower contains many thread-like stamen topped with bright yellow, pollen covered stigma.  Each plant may bear one or several flowers.

False Rue Anemone - note the lobed three-part leaves and the flowers with five white sepal-like petals

False Rue Anemone - a closer view of the leaves and flowers

Wildflowers of 2014 - #23 White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)

False Rue Anemone is a wildflower that I can expect to find growing in many locations throughout the local area, but the same cannot be said for this next wildflower.  If I want to see White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum) growing wild in the Mt. Pleasant area, I know of only one small woodlot where it can be found.  This plant is not common in Mid-Michigan, we are at the very northern edge of its range in the Lower Peninsula (a population can also be found in the western Upper Peninsula).  Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is much more common in Mid-Michigan even in the small woods where the White Trout Lily grows.

Like many other species of plants, I originally stumbled upon this flower by accident.  When I found it the first time I saw only one flower in bloom, and then I didn't see it blooming again for five years.  During those five years, beaver felled many of the trees in this small woods opening the canopy and allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor.  In 2009, I found about ten White Trout Lily in bloom and I have managed to find it every year since.  I went to this small woods on Tuesday just to look for this plant- after much searching I found a single large patch of Trout Lily leaves with one flower rising out of the center.

A colony of Trout Lilies with one White Trout Lily blooming in the center

Trout Lilies are named for their mottled leaves that resemble the speckled sides of a trout

When fully open the petals of White Trout Lilies curl upward to reveal the dangling pistil and stamen

After MUCH additional searching I was able to find two more flowers hidden in the matrix of the forest floor.

There are two White Trout Lily blooms in this photo.  Can you find them?

White Trout Lily - bloom and leaves

A single White Trout Lily surrounded both other spring wildflowers

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